Considered the best oil for relieving stress and promoting calm, lavender oil has been used since ancient times to treat various health conditions. The health benefits of lavender oil derive from its antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties. The oil promotes general physical and mental health as well having proven effectiveness against specific ailments. Its role as a perfume needs no introduction as the very name brings beauty and fragrance to the senses.
Health Benefits of Lavender Oil
The health benefits of lavender oil are innumerable, and it is highly recommended to relieve stress and calm the mind. It works both externally and internally to promote calm. Lavender oil, a potent antioxidant, contains terpene, limonene, esters and over 150 compounds, which contribute to the healing properties of the essential oil. Lavender oil is also a good source of vitamins A and E – essential vitamins for vital bodily functions.
The most important health benefits of lavender oil include:
1) Alleviates Skin Conditions
Lavender oil is highly effective in curing skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis. The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties of lavender oil help in promoting skin health. It also checks the growth of bacteria. Other skin conditions for which lavender oil is effective, include:
- Prevents mosquito bites and reduces irritation caused by bites
- Skin detoxification
Dip a cotton ball in lavender essential oil and apply it on the affected area at night. The results will be visible in a week.
For detoxifying the skin, add 2 to 3 drops of lavender oil to your bath.
2) Treats Respiratory Disorders
Another fantastic health benefit of Lavender oil is used in the treatment of respiratory conditions such as cold, flu, whooping cough and throat infections. It is effective in treating severe conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and laryngitis. The anti-inflammatory properties of lavender oil aids in treating cold and flu. Being an expectorant, it helps to eliminate mucus. The oil’s ability to boost immune function and relieve stress and anxiety aids in preventing asthma.
Apply lavender oil on the chest and neck. For quicker relief from asthma, inhale lavender oil, which helps in mucus reduction thereby relieving you of congestion.
Those suffering from asthma and allergic to the aroma of lavender oil should refrain from using the oil as it may worsen the condition.
3) Relieves Migraine And Other Pains
Just hearing the word ‘migraine’ may bring shivers to those who suffer from migraines. Such is the severity of pain that the very thought could trigger one. Lavender oil is one of the best remedies for curing migraine headaches. (1) The analgesic properties of lavender oil aid in relieving pain. The sedative power helps in relaxing the body and mind and relieving stress, which is a migraine trigger.
Lavender oil is great for pain due to muscle sore. Its anti-inflammatory properties aid in relieving body pain.
Rub lavender oil into the affected area and massage gently for relief from pain. Inhaling lavender oil provides great relief from migraine headaches.
4) Treats Digestive Disorders
Lavender oil is effective in treating digestive disorders. It relieves flatulence and constipation. Lavender oil boosts bile secretion thereby supporting digestion. It helps to maintain microbial balance in the gut by fighting harmful bacteria without harming the good bacteria. (2)
Blend lavender oil with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil and apply it on your abdomen for relief. You can also add a few drops of the oil into your bath for stomach pain and discomfort.
5) Boosts Immunity
Chronic stress, which afflicts a wide cross-section of society, is an immunity killer. Long-term stress affects you physically and psychologically. It can impair your eating habits thereby causing digestive disorders, affect your sleep, cause chronic inflammation leading to dreaded diseases and compromise immunity.
Lavender oil boosts the immune system by promoting calm and relieving anxiety. Studies on mice have shown that not only does lavender boost immunity, but also improves the skin condition of mice (3). Lavender boosts gut health and promotes blood flow, which is vital to immunity. It also aids in detoxification, which again strengthens your immune system.
Some of the methods in which you can use lavender oil to boost immunity:
- Add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath. Adding carrier oil with lavender oil is best.
- Massage your body with lavender oil before going to bed.
- Inhale the aroma for a few minutes by rubbing it in your palms or adding a few drops to a cotton ball.
- Add the oil to a diffuser before going to sleep.
6) Promotes Sleep
Medical conditions apart, insomnia is caused due to various factors including stress, irregular sleeping habits, unbalanced diet and improper lifestyle out of which stress is the most common factor.
Lavender oil works great for stress induced insomnia. It slows the brain waves thereby relaxing your nervous system and relaxing your mind. The calm that follows helps you slip into deep sleep. Many studies have been conducted on the effects of lavender oil on sleep patterns, and all have shown that the oil improves the quality of sleep. However, most interestingly, the oil had the most significant effect on the sleep of women and younger people. (4)
A sprinkling of lavender oil on your pillow will help you sleep well. You may also rub them on your feet. Adding a few drops to a diffuser helps as well.
7) Promotes Hair Health
Hair loss is a common affliction prevalent in both men and women. Using lavender oil boosts hair health, nourishes the hair, helps with hair growth and prevents hair loss. It improves blood flow to hair follicles. By keeping your hair moisturized lavender oil prevents drying of hair.
Apply lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil to your scalp and massage regularly for vibrant and healthy hair.
The anti-aging property of lavender oil may be one of its attractive features as it keeps you looking young and radiant.
As you age, your skin shows a tendency to wrinkle and sag. When you discover age spots on your skin, this is when one begins looking for anti-aging products. Aging is a natural process, and symptoms of aging are also normal. But this does not mean that you should you accept it without a fight.
There are quite a number of ways to slow the aging process and following a healthy lifestyle is definitely one of them.
Using lavender oil is yet another effective way to remain young. Lavender oil supports regeneration of skin. As it is a powerful antioxidant, it protects your skin from free radical damage and postpones the signs of aging.
Add five drops of lavender oil to an ounce of aloe vera gel. Mix well and apply on your face and massage. Keep the mix on for about 10 minutes and then rinse with cold water. You can also use coconut oil instead of aloe vera gel.
9) Urinary Tract Infection
More often found in women than men, a urinary tract infection in most cases can lead to severe pain. To ease the symptoms and be relieved from urinary tract infection, you can use lavender. The antibacterial properties of lavender oil can help fight infections. It has proved effective against vaginitis, cystitis, and urinary bladder inflammations. By promoting urine flow, it relieves you from urinary tract infection.
Using a few drops of lavender oil, massage the oil over your bladder. Adding a few drops of lavender oil to a deep bath that covers your body also helps.
10) Menstrual Cramps
Studies prove the effects of lavender oil in significantly reducing menstrual cramps (5). It is believed that lavender works by reducing uterine contractions. Since lavender oil is highly effective in relieving stress and promoting calm, it is effective in treating menstrual cramps.
Here is what you can do with lavender oil for menstrual cramps:
- Dilute lavender oil with coconut oil or olive oil and apply it on the painful area and gently massage.
- Run a hot bath and sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil to your bath and soak in it. You will feel relaxed when you come out of your bath.
- Add a few drops of lavender oil to hot compress and apply it on your muscles.
11) Promotes psychological well-being
This particular benefit may seem a little vague, so vague in fact that you would be forgiven for dismissing the benefit out of hand. However, clinical trials have been conducted to test for the psychological effects on bathing in lavender oil scented baths. Lavender baths were found to reduce stress, increase energy and improve one’s general sense of happiness in the trial versus a placebo group who did not bathe in the oil (6).
Studies have been done monitoring the brain wave activity of patients who inhaled lavender oil infused steam in a controlled environment. Research showed that the aromatherapy increased alpha and theta wave activity in the brain. Erratic wave activity is associated with a range of neurological conditions such as Epilepsy. Lavender oil inhalation was shown to have demonstrable positive effects on the brain activity linked to this condition. (7)
13) Improves cognitive function
The use of aromas to modulate cognition and mood has been documented by many ancient medieval and medical physicians through the ages. Recent studies of aromatherapy have also corroborated these findings using modern scientific techniques. Several studies have been conducted showing an improvement in cognitive ability and memory after the inhalation of lavender oil, with improved mathematical and memory counting ability. (8)
The positive effects of Lavender oil on general well-being are well known and in this regard, Lavender oil has also been tested on and found to improve conditions such as anxiety, depression, restlessness, and agitation. Its ability to influence mood is probably via the same route as epilepsy, i.e. lavender oil increases the brain wave activity when it is inhaled, and it is these low levels of brain wave activity which are thought to be linked to depression and similar disorders. (9)
15) Insect and animal repellent
Lavender oil has long been used as an effective bug and mosquito repellent for generations. While it certainly is not the best performing essential oil in this regard, it is certainly the best smelling. Mosquitos, however, will beg to differ.
16) Cat Repellent
Lavender is also used as a repellent for cats. Cats are delightful animals, but for many people, the fouling of lawns and yards, not to mention the risk of toxoplasmosis, is too much too bear. The lavender smell to cats is unpleasant and the animal will avoid it, and by strategically placing the plant across your property, you can keep the cats out.
17) Pain Relief
Lavender is almost as famous for its analgesic properties as it is for its aroma. Lavender oil has been prescribed for pain relief for chronic problems for centuries. As it is an oil and is applied topically, the soothing of aching body pains are the most appropriate application. This will include cervical spondylosis, back pain, arthritic pain to name but a few. Studies looking to establish the link between pain relief and lavender oil also found that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties. (10)
While lavender oil is certainly not a cure for this condition, given its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it provides much-needed relief for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. By rubbing the oil into the joints, the benefits of the oil can target the problem area.
There is as yet no direct link between lavender oil and cancer prevention in humans. However, tantalizing studies have shown that a component compound present in lavender oil, a monoterpene called limonene, has been successful in preventing and treating the early symptoms of breast, liver and lung cancer. (11)
19) Blood circulation
Lavender essential oil using aromatherapy has also been linked to improved blood circulation. (12) Improved blood circulation is vital to maintaining levels of oxygenation in the body’s organs, maintain cognitive ability, keep the skin looking bright and fresh and reduce the general risk of coronary problems. Lavender oil is also used to lower blood pressure and to treat hypertension.
Acne is a condition caused by an excess of sebum and dead skin cells blocking the hair follicles in your skin. Bacteria builds up within the hair follicles, feeding off the excess sebum, to create an infection which manifests itself as a pussy spot. The result is unsightly pimples, oily skin with the risk that pimples may scar.
Lavender oil applied to the face can reduce acne as the lavender’s anti-bacterial properties slow down the bacteria’s growth. Added to this, the oil analgesic and antioxidants soothe the sore skin pores and promote their return to health. As a note of caution, lavender oil may well also subtly change the hormonal balance of prepubescent boys and reduce the production of sebum that feeds the bacteria. While this may be good for acne, there is speculation of further side effects. However, further research is needed.
- Buy lavender oil made with organically grown lavender.
- If you are buying lavender oil for a skin condition, buy oil extracted using steam distilled method.
- Since lavender is very gentle on the skin, you need not dilute it. If your skin is sensitive, it is recommended to dilute and use.
- Test the oil first for allergic reactions before regular use.
- Lavender oil is safe. However, as there is speculation that lavender oil may upset the hormonal balance in prepubescent boys. Restricted use should apply
- Those who are under medication for insomnia need to exercise caution while taking lavender oil as it may aggravate the effects of medication.
- Pregnant and nursing women should not use lavender oil.